Denver has supplanted Detroit as the best pizza city in the U.S., according to a set of metrics used in a recent study by Clever Real Estate.

Wait, Denver? Don’t come at us, New Yorkers and Chicagoans. It’s not PMQ’s study; we just report on this stuff. We also realize that statistics only tell part of the story when it comes to assessing the quality of any given city’s pizza. But, hey, stirring up internet debate (and a little outrage) is what these lists are all about.

The Clever Real Estate data team analyzed various metrics to compile its list of America’s best pizza cities for 2024. It ranked the country’s 50 biggest metro areas using the following parameters for each city:

  • Pizza reputation, based on a survey of 1,000 Americans
  • Rate of pizza restaurants per 100,000 residents
  • Pizza passion, based on local internet search activity for 34 pizza-related terms (e.g., “pizza near me,” “pizza delivery,” “pan pizza,” etc.)
  • Average Yelp rating for pizza restaurants
  • Average price of a large cheese pizza
  • Average price of a large pepperoni pizza
  • Share of median annual income required to purchase one cheese pizza each week for a year
  • Share of median annual income required to purchase one pepperoni pizza each week for a year

“Step aside, Chicago and New York,” the new report reads. “Denver is the best pizza city in America. Pizza restaurants in Denver are among the highest rated on Yelp, and their prices are more affordable than most metros.”

The top 10 best U.S. pizza cities, according to the report, are:

No. 1: Denver
No. 2: Buffalo
No. 3: Boston
No. 4: Philadelphia
No. 5: San Diego
No. 6: San Francisco
No. 7: Hartford, Connecticut
No. 8: Washington, D.C.
No. 9: Detroit
No. 10: Pittsburgh

Predictably, the survey has provoked some backlash from pizza bloggers nationwide. PopCrush denounced it as “the absolute worst list of the 10 best pizza cities.” And Matt Stopera, writing for BuzzFeed, grumbled, “Yeah, they lost me at Denver.” He also complained that the list included Hartford but not New Haven.

Detroit claimed the top spot in 2022 and 2023, falling to No. 9 this year. Boston also held the No. 3 spot in last year’s Clever list, while Hartford came in at No. 2 but dropped to No. 7 this year.

What about Chicago and New York? Respectively, they claimed the No. 14 and No. 15 spots.

So what puts Denver at the top? The city has 9.5 pizza restaurants per 100,000 residents, with an average Yelp rating of 4.05 for those pizzerias. (For whatever you consider Yelp reviews to be worth, compare that figure to 3.87 for Chicago’s pizzerias and 3.93 for those in New York.)

Denver’s “pizza passion score” is 82.1, which actually trails Detroit (100), Hartford (99), Chicago (93.3), Buffalo (91.5) and several other cities on the list. Curiously, New York City scored a relatively low 63.5 in “pizza passion.” But, arguably, many New Yorkers already know where to find the pizza they love the most and don’t need to search the internet for it.

Buffalo, at No. 2 this year, was ranked No. 9 in 2023. Arthur Bovino, co-host of the Pizza Party Pod podcast and creator of The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Pizzas in America list, has argued for Buffalo’s eminence as a pizza city in the past. The city has its own style and a thriving independent pizza scene, including 17.8 pizza restaurants per 100,000 residents—the highest of any city and more than double the national average of 8.4 per 100,000 residents.

Related: This Buffalo pizza shop has an unusual business model that both guests and employees love

It should be noted that Denver has its own pizza style, too, called the Colorado Mountain Pie, although it’s found mostly at Beau Jo’s. Ironically, a recent article in Denver’s Westword notes, “In social media comments and Reddit threads, there’s a boisterous contingent of people who wholeheartedly believe that pizza in Denver sucks.” Even so, the article goes on to state that Denver (which, we realize, isn’t the only metro area in Colorado) has become a “hot spot for local interpretations of regional pizza styles from across the country.”

Westword gives a thumbs-up to pizzerias like Fat Sully’s, known for its giant-sized pies and slices; the PZA, featuring East Coast-style pizzas; and Big Bill’s, where you can wash down a slice with an ice-cold bottle of Yoo Hoo.

Other findings from the Clever Real Estate study:

  • Regardless of Denver’s spot at the top of the list, public perception points to New York City as the best pizza metropolis. About 41% of Americans consider it a top 5 pizza city, ahead of Chicago at 35%, the consumer survey found.
  • Memphis, Tennessee, is supposedly the worst city for pizza, with just 3.5 pizzerias per 100,000 residents and “low affordability of pizza based on the median annual income.”Richmond, Virginia, has the best pizza prices, with a large pepperoni pie selling for an average of $17.35, or 22% cheaper than the national average and nearly half the price of the same pizza in New York City ($33.65).
  • Two cities in Pennsylvania cracked the list’s top 10—Philadelphia (No. 4) and Pittsburgh (No. 10)—making it the “best state for pizza,” the report says.
  • Americans prefer New York-style thin crust pizza over Chicago deep-dish by a margin of 52% to 38%.
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